Heart to Heart

Spread the love with this Valentine's Day party for friends.


This delightful do is for all your best buds. Show your love for the kindred spirits in your life with this friendly fete.

+ enlarge image Don't forget to take plenty of pictures at your party.

As a party starter, plan to have assorted fruits and cheeses on hand as your guests arrive, or serve up this recipe for Appetizer Fruit Plate. Serve either with Champagne or sparking apple cider.

Creamy Chicken and Tomato Pasta is a rich casserole that's easy to make. You can even prepare this dish a day ahead of your party to eliminate last-minute cooking.

Try making your own Caesar Salad with this recipe, or purchase torn mixed greens and an assortment of bottled dressings. Pass freshly grated Parmesan cheese with the salad to add your personal touch.

Love making bread? Try these yummy Cracked Pepper Breadsticks, or, if bread baking isn't for you, purchase some crusty Italian bread from your favorite bakery. Serve with olive oil and cracked black pepper.

Finish the meal with this rich Pecan-Laced German Chocolate Cake. Or pick up a cheesecake on your way home. Dress it up with purchased chocolate and/or caramel sauce.

Still hungry? Have popcorn and hot chocolate when you get the late-night munchies.

Appetizer Fruit Plate

Creamy Chicken and Tomato Pasta

Caesar Salad

Cracked Pepper Breadsticks

Pecan-Laced German Chocolate Cake

  • Cut out a paper chain of hearts and let your invitations unfold to entice your guests. Copy centers generally carry an assortment of card stock -- or look in an art store.
  • Children's valentines are sweet and cheerful and make adorable invitations. Look for children's valentines in stationery stores and drugstores.

Decorating Tips

  • Welcome your guests with a heart-shape wreath. Gardening stores are good places to look for wreaths.
  • Savory or sweet, bake it and serve it in heart-shape dishes. You can find heart-shape baking dishes at gourmet supply stores.
  • Cookies and cakes look even sweeter on heart-shape doilies. Look for doilies in baking supply stores.
  • Kindle many tiny flames with assorted heart-shape candles filling every nook and cranny. Look for heart-shape candles in gift shops.
  • Set out platters of "X" and "O" cookies and watch guests gobble up those hugs and kisses. You can also play tic-tac-toe with these cookies; winner eats all! Make your own cookie stencils or look in baking supply stores for alphabet cookie cutters.
  • It takes two to move the heart-shape indicator and reveal the truth of the Ouija board. Adorn a coffee or side table with a Ouija board and witness the power of positive thinking. Look for Ouija boards in toy stores.
  • They're sweet and crunchy and a whole lot tastier than e-mail.... We're talking about Conversation Hearts, that Valentine's classic. Scatter small bowls full of these colorful candy hearts adorned with pithy sayings around your room for snacking and sweet-talking. Look for Conversation Hearts in candy stores.
  • Dress for affection, in red, from head to toe -- and encourage your guests to do likewise.
  • Have each guest bring a child's valentine and a small, stuffed animal and donate the collection to a children's hospital or homeless shelter. Check your local Yellow Pages for hospitals and shelters.

Entertainment

  • Everyone deserves chocolates and flowers on Valentine's Day, so treat your friends to a small box of chocolates and a single rose.
  • Ask each guest to bring a homemade valentine. Play a game in which you try to match the guest with her valentine.
  • Gather up the posse and pose for a group portrait. Send each guest a copy and frame one for yourself. If you make it a holiday tradition, over time, you will have a touching testament to your enduring relationships.
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